Being a senior it is important to make my words interesting, if possible, so that the words will have some effect on the reader when the story is finished. I grew up in Windsor, Ontario where I had a normal upbringing with a loving family. I played industrial hockey and was a member of the Ontario Junior Baseball Association, where we were champions in 1941. In September of the following year I enlisted with the RCAF in Windsor. I completed my training in Calgary and Fingal, received my commission at the graduation parade in August of 1943. I was then posted to Montreal to serve in the Ferry Command. My first transatlantic trip was November of 1943 with a civilian air crew flying the PGY or as we know it, the “Catalina Flying Boat” which we took to Largs, Scotland.
In January of 1944 I was training in North Bay with pilots, co-pilots, navigators and radio operators to form crews of four to go to England and prepare for paratrooper dropping, glider towing and supply dropping in preparation for the D-Day landings. I was assigned to Squadron 512 RAF, we were stationed at Brodwell. On June the 5th at approximately 23:30 hrs. we were hurriedly mustered with our aircraft lined up as were anxiously waited for the word, GO. We joined the Canadian 6th paratroopers that had already been assembled at the aircraft. Take off was shortly after mid-night on June 6th which is also my birthday. We took off and headed for Falaise, Normandy to deposit the brave troops. There were thousands of aircraft below and above us, approaching the shoreline of Normandy. Our destination was 20 miles inland, Falaise was our target. We dropped the shrapnel rockets that were slung under the aircraft to create havoc on the ground. It was pitch black as we began our drop at 1000 ft and ended up at 800 ft. We were lucky. On returning to England, we learned that some of our aircrafts had been hit and some of the paratroopers had the bad fortune of being dropped into flooded fields, due to the fact that each trooper carried as much as 90 pounds when jumping out of the aircraft making drowning became inevitable. After that day we became an air ambulance and would run men from the front, back to hospitals in England.
For the duration of the war I had more than 800 take offs and landings, including being shot down a few hundred meters from the front where I was rescued by a young Dutch girl, who helped us get back to an Allied camp (the 101st Airborne). After the war I returned to Canada and the U. S. and was able to run several furniture, upholstery and flooring stores in Michigan, North bay and Mississauga. It was in 1988 when I retired and moved to Niagara, where I have been ever since.